DOI: 10.12924/johs2013.09010004 |Publication Date: 31 March 2013

The Radicalisation of Prison Inmates: A Review of the Literature on Recruitment, Religion and Prisoner Vulnerability

Elizabeth Mulcahy 1 , Shannon Merrington 2 and Peter James Bell 3, *
1 Monash University
2 University of Queensland
3 Queensland University of Technology
* Corresponding author
Abstract: It should come as no surprise that prisons can become breeding grounds for radicalisation and terrorism as prisons serve as reservoirs for society’s most dangerous individuals (Useem & Clayton, 2009). Prisons are places of vulnerability and they provide a space where radical and extremist ideologies can flourish. Despite being a popular topic among researchers and policymakers, there still remain significant gaps in our understanding and many unanswered questions. This paper provides a literature review on prisoner radicalisation. It specifically explores the role religion plays in prison and its link to radicalisation, prisoner vulnerability to radicalisation, the radicalisation process, and outlines the current debate as to where terrorist prisoners should be held. This paper concludes by identifying the major gaps in the literature and offering concluding remarks.

Keywords: radicalisation; terrorism; prisons


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